Saturday, November 29, 2008

Product Review - The Amplitude S/S Tech Tee

Having raced and trained for triathlons since 1985 I have had the
chance to wear all kinds of athletic gear. Over the years I have
become very picky in my garments I choose to train and race in.

I recently had the chance to do a unique workout for a company called
Lululemon. My friend asked me if I would spin in their window while
shoppers walked by and shopped inside the store. Me not wanting to
pass up on a chance to get a good workout in said "yes", and I found
myself turbo training for three hours in their window. I used one of
their Amplitude tech tees during the workout and it worked well for
the duration on my workout. I sweat a lot and its the last thing you
want happening when you are spinning on a bike. The Amplitude tech tee
did wonders for soaking up the sweat and made my three hour spin
actually nice since I was a lot dryer than I have ever been during
that kind of intense workout.

The true test came during my next workout which was a run. The
Amplitude tech tee was by far the best shirt I have ever run in. why?
Here are a few reasons.

1. the shirt fits the body extremely well. Its very form fitting, but
yet it gives your upper body room to move freely. The last thing I
like is shirts that are too small or a shirt that feels like it drags
you down.

2. there is absolutely no chaffing at all!

3. it took all the sweat from my body and right into the shirt which
made it very nice since it was cold and the last thing you want is
sweat on your body to make you colder.

4. once you clean the shirt there is no "post workout odor" remaining
in the shirt.

5. the most important reason is that it looks cool! If your not fast
you might as well look and feel good.....correct?

More Information on my new favorite workout garment

Amplitude S/S Tech Tee

* Performance top that feels as light as air
* Silverescent technology using X-STATIC the silver fiber
* Welded pocket to secure ipod nano
* Pre-shrunk
* Chafe free - flat seams
* Wicking/quick dry
* Seam free technology

Click on the title link to learn more.

Rebecca Preston - The “Twilight” Zone

In an effort to update my blog more frequently, my blogs are inevitably going to contain non-triathlon content. This is going to be one of those blogs…… Right now, I am living in the ‘twilight’ zone. No, I’m not living in some weird parallel universe (Subic Bay is fine). Instead, last week, I found myself in the bookshop in Olongapo (no, this is not the twilight zone either). I’d grown tired of watching countless dvd’s (I know!!! I thought that was impossible too). I’d been through Entourage Seasons 1-5; The Office Seasons 1-4; slowly making my way through all 13 seasons of ER; not to mention the great tv channels we have here (with the new 90210, One Tree Hill etc). Honestly, sometimes training sessions are a HUGE inconvenience.

Anyway, as I was mentioning, I found myself in the bookshop, which in itself, is a bit strange, because I don’t really read a whole lot. I like trashy gossip mags, and I usually only read biographies, if I find one that interests me enough. My sister on the other hand, is an avid reader. So when I came across the Twilight novel, I vaguely remembered that she had told me that it was a great book. And to make it even more appealing, it was being made into a movie, so that meant it had to be ok. Hmmm, given the super cheap price, I had nothing to lose.

To cut a long story short, I am addicted to the book/s. The TV has not come on in my room all week, except for Wednesday 12pm (90210 was on) and a two hour turbo session on Tuesday. After finishing Twilight, I was back at the book shop 2 days later, buying the complete 4 book set. I can’t stop reading the books, and just have the final book to go.

Ok, I will stop embarrassing myself now…..back onto triathlon stuff. Training is going as well as I can expect. I was pretty tired last week, following the Powerman in Malaysia. However, I still managed to put in some quality sessions. All the rookies are leaving and there will be only 3 of us left in Subic next week (me, Mat and Manny). Thankfully, we have the Fillopino (?sp) squad to keep us company for our sessions.

Speaking of training, I have to go get ready for a ride.

PS- For Twilight followers- I’m team Edward!!!


Macca Takes On Mt. Diablo

Ironman World Champion triathlete Chris McCormack was spotted doing some off-season training in the Bay area this week. McCormack has done his fair share of riding in the Bay but had yet to experience Walnut Creek's Mt. Diablo. The Australian found the 60 degree winter weather in California a little too cold and had to sport the ROAD Magazine jacket borrowed from his riding partner.

You like that Windtex ROAD jacket? They have a bunch for sale in sizes medium, large, and extra-large. Made by Hincapie Sports, it's full-zip and $120. Email Christine at to nab one.

To find out more information on Road Magazine (by far the best publication out there!) click on the title link.

Contador ready to kick-start season

The Spanish climber heads to Spain’s Canary Islands this week for Astana’s first pre-season training camp ahead of the 2009 season, where he will finally meet his new teammate Lance Armstrong face-to-face.

Following a successful surgery last week to repair a deviated septum, Contador still won’t be able to ride his bike until Thursday. In the meantime, he will continue with his gym work and do all that other pre-season stuff, like pose for pictures, plan his calendar and meet new riders and staff.

Question: How has this winter been?

Alberto Contador: Very busy. After 2007, winning the Tour, and this year with the Giro and Vuelta, I’ve had many commitments and I haven’t been able to disconnect like I wanted to. I have my head in a good place and I am excited to begin. As soon as I recover from the surgery, I will ride again and concentrate on my training.

Q: Are you excited to return to racing?

AC: Yes, I am a ride who likes to compete and race my bike. I am ready to arrive at the camp, get to know my new companions, greet the other ones and begin to plan the season.

Q: What are your expectations from this first training camp?

AC: Above all, it will serve to unite us even more, because now there’s no pressure and we can do things now that will be later impossible to do. We will make a strong group and work that things go as well as possible this season.

Q: How is Astana looking in 2009?

AC: The team this year is very good and we’ve made some important reinforcements. Of Haimar Zubeldia, you already know of his quality and we don’t need words. He can have a fundamental role in three-week tours. Another big last-minute score has been the arrival of Popovych. He worked hard during the 2007 Tour and he’s very happy to be able to come back with us. Then there are other riders, like Jesús Hernández, who I normally train with, who I believe this year will make a big improvement and it will be noticed by the team.

Q: And then there’s Lance Armstrong, what will his contribution be?

AC: Without a doubt, his great experience. He has been able to win seven Tours and with that comes both physical and mental. His contribution will be very important for the Tour and, sporting wise, he will be fundamental. Although up to now his level is still unknown, I am convinced he will strengthen us even more.

Q: What are your objectives for this year?

AC: Without a doubt, the Tour de France. It’s the most important race, the race that changed my life, and since this year that I could not be there, my biggest goal is to race it again. I know it will be very difficult to win for the high level of competition and the amount of things that can happen to you in the course of 21 days of competition, but I am going to fight to the maximum to achieve it. Thinking about the Tour has permitted me to begin more relaxed, also because of the operation.

Q: Besides the Tour, do you have other goals?

AC: Yes, also I want to work on my position on the bike, including both the road bike and the time trial, to optimize my performance. Although this year, the time trials in the Tour are almost half of what they were in 2007, to improve in the time trial is one of my goals and, of course, I want to continue enjoying the bike as I do now.

Q: What motivates you right now?

AC: To achieve the objectives I set out for myself. I am a rider that doesn’t take a lot to train, but more so when I have an objective to achieve. I don’t like to train just to train. I like to give my all to achieve the maximum performance in competition and later, I also like to rest, just as much physically as psychologically, because the competition also wears you out mentally.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Astana Training Camp Starts Sunday

Before Lance heads off to the Astana camp he is in Nice France training. He found snow above Nice on his ride today and took time to take a quick photo of himself and Ryszard, his Polish soigneur.

Seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong, who announced his comeback to cycling after a three-year hiatus earlier this year, and Contador, who has won all three of the sport's three-week grand tours, will take part in the November 30 to December 8 session on the island of Tenerife.

Contador, 25, had hinted that he might quit Astana following the signing of Armstrong, 37, but later said he had been given assurances that he would remain team leader.

The Spaniard underwent an operation on Monday to repair an injury to his nasal partition, and has said he hoped to be fit to race in the Vuelta in Valencia in Spain in February.

Armstrong has said he will compete in the Giro d’Italia next year, but has yet to confirm whether he will race in the Tour de France.

2009 LIVESTRONG Challenge Overview Video

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boot camp time for Saxo Bank professionals

The name has changed from CSC to Team Saxo Bank - IT Factory, but the new season started the same it has since 2001 – with a survival camp. Each year, the team headed by Bjarne Riis goes to a different location and gets to build character and team work ahead of the road season. This year's camp ran for ten days, with the actual survival part between three to five days.

Like in previous years, former paratrooper Bjarne S. Christiansen led the military style camp. Because the team is Danish and the two main sponsors are Danish, he decided to have the camp in Denmark, after visiting places like Norway, South Africa or Lanzarote in the past.

Like Lanzarote, this year's camp involved being near and in water, but the water temperatures were much colder. The weather at least was good for the recruits, with sunny skies making sure that not more misery was brought upon them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Astana to Train in NorCal This February

It looks like the Astana pro cycling team will be coming to NorCal for a February training camp before the 2009 Tour of California.

Some of the details still need to be worked out, but in an interview with, Astana's Levi Leipheimer said his team...his entire team, including Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and Andreas Klöden...will all be riding in and around Santa Rosa, CA right before the start of the Tour of California on February 14th.

So, why have this camp in NorCal? Leipheimer, the two-time defending TofCA champ, lives...and Santa Rosa.

And the California weather is a whole lot warmer that what the Astana boys faced in Albuquerque this past January.

Three Ways to Give this Holiday Season

What a year it's been. With your help, LAF accomplished a lot in 2008. They got both presidential candidates on the record about their plans to fight cancer. They raised awareness through LIVESTRONG Day events in cities across the country. And they united thousands of people through the LIVESTRONG Challenge.

In 2009, they have even more great things in store. They will promote the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Initiative, Lance will raise cancer awareness globally by participating in several cycling races around the world and they will continue to stand up for the 20 million people around the globe who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Please watch this video and consider giving to the LAF in one of three ways this holiday season:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ford Ironman World Championship (2008)

Trailer for the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship airing on NBC. Airs December 13th, 2:30 - 4:00 (Eastern; check local listings).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coconut Oil - Enhance Athletic Performance?

Natural compounds in Coconut Oil help stimulate your metabolism, optimize your weight, decrease cravings, and support a healthy thyroid gland.
If you live in the United States, you have a 55% chance of being overweight.

And, by now, I'm sure you're aware that obesity affects your quality of life and is linked to many health concerns.

One of the best benefits of coconut oil lies in its ability to help stimulate your metabolism.

Back in the 1940s, farmers found out about this effect by accident when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock.

It didn't work!

Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry.

Now, I'm certainly not comparing you to a farm animal ...

However, many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing LCFAs with MCFAs results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.

So, by changing the fats in your diet from the unsaturated long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable or seed oils to the MCFAs in coconut oil, along with following an exercise plan, you may find yourself gradually losing those unnecessary pounds.

The reasons are simple:

1. The long-chain fats nearly always go to fat storage, while the MCFAs are burned for energy.

2. Since coconut oil helps to stimulate your metabolism, you may burn more calories each day, helping to accelerate weight loss (and probably your activity & energy level)

Coconut oil has often been compared to carbohydrates in its ability to be "burned" for energy. However, since insulin is not involved in the process of digesting the MCFAs in coconut oil, you won't get those carb-related spikes in your blood sugar level. This is especially good news for those of you concerned about maintaining normal blood sugar levels.

In fact, the ability of MCFAs to be easily digested, to help stimulate the metabolism and be turned into energy has entered the sports arena. Several studies have now shown that MCFAs enhance physical or athletic performance.

Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. And you've probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.

Besides weight loss, there are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. The healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old cells, and your immune system functions better overall.

Armstrong Among America's Best Leaders

Un-retired cyclist and cancer advocate Lance Armstrong was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, in association with the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The 2008 edition of America’s Best Leaders highlights 24 professionals who offer optimism and hope through their work.

“I am honoured to be among such distinguished company,” Armstrong, 37 said. “My Foundation and I focused on making cancer a national priority in this election year and recognition by these renowned institutions—U.S. News and Harvard—serves as great testament to our efforts. At the LAF, we believe one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against cancer is hope and we plan to harness that power as we embark on our premiere global cancer awareness campaign next year.”

In addition to Armstrong, the Best Leaders issue features some of the country’s most visionary individuals:

David Baltimore, Ph.D., Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology and Former President, California Institute of Technology; Nobel Laureate (California)
Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, Alabama (Bayou La Batre, AL)
Jeff Bezos, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, (Seattle)
Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, Artistic Director and Chairman, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Arts (Washington, D.C.)
Benjamin Carson, M.D., Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore)
Manuel Diaz, Mayor, City of Miami (Miami)
Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President, Children’s Defense Fund (Washington, D.C.)
Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (Bethesda, MD)
Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, Co-founders, Knowledge Is Power Program (San Francisco, CA)
Robert Gates, Ph.D., United States Secretary of Defense (Washington, D.C.)
Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., and Maria Zuber, Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy Professor at Caltech and the Chief Investigator for NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array Mission (Pasadena, CA); Chair of the department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Professor of Geophysics at MIT and the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory Mission Science (Cambridge, MA)
Freeman Hrabowski III, Ph.D., President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD)
Amory B. Lovins, Founder, Rocky Mountain Institute (Snowmass, CO)
Anne Mulcahy, Chief Executive Officer, Xerox (Norwalk, CT)
Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo. (Purchase, N.Y.)
Linda Rottenberg, Chief Executive Officer and cofounder, Endeavor (New York, N.Y.)
Jeffrey Sachs, Ph.D., Economist, Author, Director, UN Millennium Project, the Earth Institute, Columbia University (New York, N.Y.)
Steven Spielberg, Director and Producer, Founder, Universal, DreamWorks, The Shoah Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor, San Francisco Symphony; Founder, New World Symphony Arts (San Francisco, CA)
U.S. Junior Officers, U.S. Armed Forces (United States)
“These leaders are creatively working to address the country’s most pressing needs,” said Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News & World Report. “Consider Marian Wright Edelman’s advocacy for the disadvantaged, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s work in transforming the field of medicine and public health, Lance Armstrong’s fight to inspire and empower cancer patients—these leaders demonstrate innovation and perseverance at an important time in the nation's history.”

In a collaborative effort between U.S. News and Harvard’s CPL, the leaders were selected by a nonpartisan and independent committee, convened and organized by the Center, without the participation of U.S. News editors. The selection criteria used by the committee in choosing the honorees included the ability to set direction, achieve results, and cultivate a culture of growth.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finding Time For Lance Armstrong

by Chris Brewer / photos courtesy © Brad Christian

Aero guro Steve Hed’s thoughts after being in the wind tunnel with Lance.

Why go back to the wind tunnel after so many successful Time Trials over the years?

Well, after Lance decided to come back to racing in 2009 the decision was made to put the “F1” team back together. This is the group of people that we used the last couple of years Lance was racing the Tour. Carmichael Training Systems, Giro helmets, Trek bikes, and Hed wheels were the main folks back from 2005. So for instance the bikes have gone through a couple of changes since then, so Trek is working to come up with a super Time Trial bike – we’ve seen the Madone just getting better and better over the last few years – but there are also some new UCI rule changes and we have to make sure that the equipment is designed around them, too. We spent a lot of time working with Giro and some of the new helmets they’ve been working on. It’s not that these companies weren’t working on this to begin with, but with Lance’s return let’s just say they’re a bit more accelerated these days!

Some people have said that Lance may be fitter at this time of year than in the past, would you agree with that?

I don’t know if he’s more fit, but he is certainly starting earlier than he has done ever before. That’s why it’s so important to be doing the testing now, establishing the baseline, etc. Normally if you’re a pro rider at this point in time you’d be worn out from a long season and a demanding Tour de France, but he’s obviously not in that situation. And so the question is, is he really more fit? Or is he benefiting from having stayed in good shape but is much more well-rested than his peers? The only way we’ll really be able to tell is if he decides to do another season after 2009 and then we look at where he is then vs. where he is now.

So back to the tunnel – what were you hoping to accomplish?

First off, let’s start by saying clearly where Lance was in 2005 was not a bad position, as evidenced by his results. But I recently came down to Austin a couple of times to try out some new positions and ideas I’d had. If you have some thoughts on being more aero and what might work better, now is the time to try that and see how it works out. It’s all about finding the right balance, the right fit between being aero, comfortable (so you can hold the position), and generate the most power. So we start by putting him in the exact same position from 2005. What was interesting about that was when got him on the bike in that manner, he was just seven grams (of drag) off of where he was back then! So aside from him being that good three years later, we also knew the tunnel accuracy was good and the data from that timeframe is still relevant. So now we can look at things like getting lower and narrower as we know those things can improve aerodynamics.

Is this along the lines of what we’ve heard from some of the riders about “hiding behind their hands?”

Yeah – they’re getting behind their hands more, they’re getting lower – you only have to look at how Levi (Leipheimer) and a few other people are riding. But the difference is that everyone has a different way that they fit on the bike. If you’re a lighter climber guy then you probably have a disadvantage over a bigger, stronger Time Trial guy that can put out the watts. So the climber has to compensate by at least being equal in terms of aerodynamics, and if you want to beat them then you probably will have to adapt to something even more to get the aero edge. Traditionally it’s been easier to get results from someone who puts out more watts but has more drag counts than it is for a small guy to be able to gain via an aero advantage.

I recall when we you were in Austin you spoke about how even average riders can benefit from this knowledge just by adding a good set of clip on aero bars to their road bike…

Yes, but that doesn’t mean just because you have aero bars on your bike that you are better off aerodynamically. At the end of the day the point is to get to the finish line faster than your competitors – not to be the most aerodynamic. So by experimenting with different positions – something we did with Lance and then tried out at the Gruene Time Trials – you can learn what works and what doesn’t. For instance, I know we have positions that we’ve proven in the tunnel to be more efficient, but then on the road we find that they just don’t work as it’s too uncomfortable to sustain or you can’t generate the watts. And then we had a few new positions that are in the “maybe” category and he went to the track to test them out to see if they were sustainable. It’s all about finding the combination of right power and right aero.

Without going into any close held information, do you think you made some progress in this tunnel session?

The question is: What’s progress? Theoretically the big gains are hard to get now… let’s say he’s in exactly the same shape and he rides exactly the same course as in 2005. So if we can find something in the tunnel that takes 10 seconds off of what he did back then, to me that’s progress. It’s hard at their levels to get somebody 10 seconds. So after we’re done here and on the track we will spend a lot of time looking at what positions had the best aero numbers and then what kind of power each position could sustain. And then you also have to consider that if you have found a position that’s significantly more aero but hasn’t shown up on power yet, do you want to spend a lot of time trying to adapt to that position and see if you can get those power numbers up? That’s a hard decision to make, and sometimes it’s a gut call on the rider’s part.

Talk about the correlation of wattage to aero rating...

It is possible to put out less power and be in a better aero position and your net gain is a faster time. Understand that as you go faster your air drag basically cubes; your air resistance is proportionally larger the faster you go. So say that going from 29 mph to 30 mph takes “X” amount of watts, say it’s one watt. But to go from 30 to 31 mph, that might take two watts to get that additional one mph. And that’s why at the top level you don’t see these great gains. If I were to take a male Cat 4 time trialist, he’s obviously out on the course a lot longer than the pros would be. So to improve his ability in terms of overall percentage we would see much greater gains. But at the top level there’s such a close margin between guys like Lance, Levi, and Alberto Contador that the work we do here can and does make a difference, but it’s nowhere near as big a change in overall percentage.

What about gearing? Do you think the pros can ever be limited by what their bike can actually generate?

Not really. The place that gearing may make a difference would be on a specific downhill, and certainly not on a technical descent. And that’s just a case where we’ve all been that you’re just overspinning your pedals and so you go into your tuck.

It hasn’t just been Lance in the tunnel this week, you also had time to spend with young Taylor Phinner, Levi, Alberto…

Let’s talk about Levi – he’s really amazing. He’s one of the guys that really looked at his numbers in the wind tunnel and said, “Look, I really can’t ride well in that position today but in three months I can and I’m going to ride like that.” And through hard work we see that it’s now really paid off for him as he’s regarded as one of the best TT guys in the world today. Taylor has been in the tunnel before and he rides the track where aero position is really important, those guys finish within hundredths of a second from each other. I think with the track guys it’s often about what you ate that day and did you have a twist in your helmet strap that can decide a win or a loss! (laughs) But when you look at the capability of these four guys, they are all so at the top of their game now it keeps getting harder and harder to “find time” for them. So one way we combat this is to not just look for improvements, but work on not making mistakes from what we know works. If we have a dialed in aero position and you have to stay in that as much as possible for an hour, it’s your ability to focus, generate that power, and not make mistakes that ultimately decides who wins. For instance, staying seated and aero on a hill as appropriately as possible before standing and then getting right back into focus as soon as possible.

What’s your opinion on sitting vs. standing on a climb? I noticed at the Gruene TT Lance and his teammate John Korioth didn’t stand at all…

Well it’s kind of an intuitive thing that you have to work on. They scouted the route and while they didn’t see the need to stand, they changed position on their bikes, for instance moving back on their saddles to stretch out and find a more power position, choking back on the bars a little bit, but staying as aero as possible. Certainly standing you create this big parachute, but there can come a time when you simply can’t generate the power and you have to stand and go over it. It’s part intuition, but it’s also from training and learning how hard you really can go and stay seated. So say you’re training for an event. Know the course and then find a climb that’s as close to the one you will have in the race that you can train on. You can then do some self timing on that, for instance go as hard as you can and stay aero until you can’t pedal another revolution, and then stand. Or stand early and see how you do – it’s about finding what works best for you, and that’s known through training and the numbers.

So in your assessment, where do you think Lance is now in terms of where he will be later on in the season?

Hopefully he’s around 90% now, but without looking at the data it’s pretty much a gut call. He’s been spending a lot more time on the road bike than the TT, so just by adapting to the TT bike again we’ll see improvement. But because he’s stayed in such good shape from running and riding his road bike, he can already generate a lot of power. We’ll just have to wait a little as his practice transfers that into efficient power on the TT bike.

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Benefits Come in a Variety of Forms
Cranberries contain bacteria-blocking compounds that are believed to be helpful in preventing urinary tract infections, and scientists now think this same function may be useful in blocking the bacteria responsible for ulcers and certain oral bacteria that can lead to gum disease. Current research indicates that approximately 10 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail is needed daily to achieve the bacteria-blocking benefits that ward off UTIs, ulcers and gum disease. You can get these benefits in an array of cranberry products. For round-the-clock protection, snack or cook with one of these products at least once a day.

Compositional and Nutritional Information
Cranberries are considered a healthy fruit. They contain no cholesterol and virtually no fat and are low in sodium. Various cranberry products may contain substantial levels of dietary fiber and certain vitamins, as well as a variety of photochemical that may be beneficial to health.

Health Consideration
Historically, the health-promoting properties of cranberries have been based on folkloric remedies, which have existed for centuries. The healthy giving properties of this fruit were recognized by Native American Indians, and early New England sailors are said to have eaten the vitamin C-rich wild cranberries to prevent scurvy. Recent studies confirm the idea that cranberries and cranberry products are beneficial to health.

Availability and Usage Suggestions for Fresh Cranberries
Fresh cranberries are available in stores mid-September through December. They are most abundant during peak harvest season-October and November. Cranberries may be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. Before using, sort and rinse cranberries in running water. Buy fresh cranberries in season, then freeze them to enjoy them all year long. To freeze fresh cranberries, double wrap them in plastic without washing. When using frozen cranberries in your recipes or formulas, no thawing is necessary. In fact, best results are obtained without thawing.

Urinary Tract Health
One of the best-known benefits of cranberries is their use in promoting urinary tract health. Since the turn of the century, cranberries have been used as a folk remedy for the treatment of bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs), which cause frequent and painful urination. The first reported use of cranberries by conventional medical practitioners was in 1923 , where it was suggested that cranberries acidify the urine, thus killing the bacteria causing the UTI. More recently, heightened scientific interest and laboratory research appear to validate the effect of cranberries on UTIs but present an explanation other than urinary acidification.

A 1994 study conducted at the Harvard Medical School determined that regular consumption of cranberry juice reduced the amount of bacteria in the urinary tracts of elderly women. Rather than acidification of the urine, these researchers concluded that something specific to the cranberry actually prevented bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder. In 1998, researchers from Rutgers University identified the specific components in cranberries that function as previously suggested. These condensed tannins or proanthocyanidins from the cranberry fruit prevent Escherichia coli (E.coli), the primary bacteria responsible for UTIs, from attaching to cells in the urinary tract. Thus, the bacteria are flushed from the tract rather than being allowed to adhere, grow and lead to infection.

Phytochemical and Antioxidants Attributes
In addition to their urinary tract health benefits, cranberries also contain Phytochemical that may assist in maintaining health. Scientists believe that it is the combined actions of many different phytochemicals that contribute to their overall effects, and cranberries are rich in these compounds. Some of these phytochemicals act as antioxidants, compounds that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. These antioxidants reduce oxidative damage to cells that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.

For example, anthocyanins, compounds that give cranberries their red color, are powerful antioxidants that may be stronger than vitamin E. In addition, laboratory studies have shown that cranberry extract reduces oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (so-called “bad” cholesterol), an effect which research indicates may be important in maintaining a healthy heart. Thus, when consumed as part of a well balanced diet containing a variety of foods, cranberries may provide positive health benefits.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Benefits of Flax seed

Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax seed become our modern miracle food. Alpha linolenic acid is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon. Benefits of flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.

Other Benefits of Flax seed

Aside from alpha linolenic acid, flax seed is rich in lignan. Lignan is a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant) and also provides fiber. Researches reveal that lignan in flax seed shows a lot of promise in fighting disease -- including a possible role in cancer prevention especially breast cancer. It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer.

Recent studies also showed positive benefits of flax seed oil in IBD (Crohn's Disease and Colitis). Flax seed oil seems to be able to heal the inner lining of the inflamed intestines.

Moderately include flax seed in your diet. Indeed, a lot of food products contain flax seed such as bread, cereal and bakery goods. Bakers may use flax seed flour or include flax seed in baking.

Armstrong 'fears for personal safety'

The American believes he could be targeted by French fans angry that doping allegations surrounding him have helped to destroy the credibility of cycling's most famous race.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, the seven-time Tour winner said: "I don't want to enter an unsafe situation but you see this stuff coming out of France. There are some aggressive, angry emotions. If you believe what you read, my personal safety could be in jeopardy. Cycling is a sport of the open road and spectators are lining that road. I try to believe that people, even if they don't like me, will let the race unfold."

Asked if that meant he feared an attack on next year's tour, Armstrong said: "Yeah. There are directors of French teams who have encouraged people to take to the streets ... elbow to elbow. It's very emotional and tense."

After undergoing surgery for testicular cancer, Armstrong went on to win seven Tour titles between 1999 and 2005. But his extraordinary achievement was tainted by unsubstantiated claims that it was done with the help of performance enhancing drugs.

French sports daily L'Equipe reported in 2005 that six samples of Armstrong's urine from the 1999 tour had revealed traces of the blood-boosting drug EPO following retrospective testing. An investigation ordered by the International Cycling Union (UCI) concluded that the testing of the samples had not been conducted correctly and the results could not be regarded as reliable evidence.

The level of scrutiny I've had throughout my career from the press and the anti-doping authorities is unmatched. I've got nothing to hide
Armstrong told the Guardian he had declined an offer from France's anti-doping agency to have the samples formally re-tested because he could not be sure they had not been contaminated. The Texan went on to insist that all seven of his titles were the result of hard work rather than doping.

He said: "I understand people in France and in cycling might have that perception but the reality is that there's nothing there. The level of scrutiny I've had throughout my career from the press and the anti-doping authorities is unmatched. I'm not afraid of anything. I've got nothing to hide."

Armstrong also claimed to be fitter now, at the age of 37, than he was in the early stages of the build-up to any of his successful tours. "And mentally there is no comparison," he added. "I'm far stronger and more motivated. The motivation of 2008 feels like the motivation of 1999. I was back from cancer then. I had the motivation of vengeance because nobody wanted me or believed in me."

Despite that bullish assessment, Armstrong admitted to having "anxiety and insecurity about being 37". He said: “Let's not forget I'm the oldest tour winner in modern cycling history and that was four years ago. But that nervousness makes me work even harder. We're doing a training camp in December in Tenerife and another in California with big climbs. Normally I wouldn't smell a mountain until February so I'm starting early."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Images Of - Sport Life 2008

Savoldelli: Armstrong Is One-Up On His Rivals

Recently retired Paolo Savoldelli believes his former-teammate Lance Armstrong is a notch above the competition. The Italian from Bergamo expects 2009 to hold more successes for the American who recently announced his comeback.

"They tried to cut him down in every way, but it was not possible. I can guarantee to you that there is no magic potion, I raced with him, believe me, he has something more than the others," said Savoldelli to Tuttosport.

Savoldelli turned professional in 1996 and went on to win two editions of the Giro d'Italia. He was a teammate of Armstrong in 2005 and helped him achieve one of his seven Tour de France wins.

"He loves to stay at the centre of attention, in the limelight. ... He carried out tests before announcing his return and he understands that he can still win. He is starting early on, debuting in January, because he needs a base. He will be at the Giro but his objective is to win the Tour."

Armstrong announced his return to the sport this September. It will be three and a half since he last raced at the sport's highest level when he lines up for the Tour Down Under, January 18 to 25.

Savoldelli competed against many of cycling's biggest names in his years as a professional. He believes Armstrong made the biggest impact on him – more than Marco Pantani, Gilberto Simoni, Ivan Basso and Damiano Cunego. "Armstrong was above all. I raced in the same team and he is an extraordinary character, truly unique."

Rock Racing Announces 2009 Roster

Rock Racing bolstered its ranks for 2009 with the signings of European specialists Baden Cooke, Francisco Mancebo and José Enrique Gutiérrez, as well as top domestic talents Ivan Dominquez, Glen Chadwick and Chris Baldwin. Columbian Santiago Botero will not return for 2009, racing closer to home since the birth of his daughter.

Rock Racing Owner Michael Ball also announced the re-signing of U.S. National Champions Tyler Hamilton (Road), Rahsaan Bahati (Criterium) and Justin Williams (Under 23 Criterium) as well as Oscar Sevilla, Fred Rodriguez and Victor Hugo Peña.

“We have assembled a world class team and acquired a mix of tremendous talent and experience,” said Ball. “We have the strength, depth and tenacity to compete in any race around the globe.”

Rock Racing’s line-up for its third season includes riders from eight different countries who have won stages at all three of cycling’s Grand Tours – the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España – as well as multiple national championships.

“Last year was a year of redemption,” Ball said. “Given the opportunity to ride, we proved we were able to win. In 2009, we will continue our winning tradition, and from a branding and fan perspective, be the No. 1 team in the world.”

In 2008, Rock Racing scored 45 victories and 106 podium finishes. Every month brought a new highlight for Rock Racing fans: Santiago Botero won the Redlands Bicycle Classic in April and led a 1-2-3-4 finish in the prologue of the Vuelta a Colombia in May; Sevilla won the second leg of the Triple Crown of Cycling in June at the Reading Classic; Hamilton captured the Tour of Qinghai Lake in July; Bahati (criterium), Williams (Under 23 criterium) and Hamilton (road race) each won national titles in August. In the final two months of the season, the team came away with five medals at the 2008 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships and Sevilla became the first non-Colombian in 48 years to win the RCN Classic.

Among those not returning to Rock Racing for 2009 is Botero, who represented Colombia at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The 2002 world time trial champion decided to race closer to home following the birth of his daughter earlier this year.

Rock Racing’s 2009 roster:
Rahsaan Bahati, Chris Baldwin, Alex Boyd, Austin Carroll, Glen Chadwick, Baden Cooke, Michael Creed, Freddy Cruz, Ivan Dominguez, Danny Finneran, Jose Manuel “Chepe” Garcia, Cesar Grajales, José Enrique Gutiérrez, Tyler Hamilton, Sergio Hernandez, Sterling Magnell, Francisco Mancebo, Caleb Manion, Ian Moir, Víctor Hugo Peña, Fred Rodriguez, Oscar Sevilla, David Taner, David Vitoria and Justin Williams.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stress and Cortisol...the facts you need to know and how to improve your fitness and health

By: Tom Hodge - President Recovox

The difficulty of preventing stress lies in the fact that stress truly is a "chameleon" health problem. Thousands of factors can cause stress, and stress can appear in your body in almost as many ways. With every individual, stress is brought on by a unique factor. For some, it's the partying college kids next door, or worrying about finances, while for others, stress may be caused by the loss of a loved one, and for others still, too much of a good thing - like exercise.

Stress can be mental, creating frustration, inability to focus, reduced concentration and energy, and weak memory skills. Stress can be emotional, overcoming you with anger, resentment, worry, anxiety or panic. And stress can be physical, whether from improperly nourished muscles and organs or real physical injury. Often, stress is a combination of two or more of these types.

What's more, stress can have a compounding effect: a mentally stressful situation can develop into physical health troubles, and these health troubles can in turn create more mental stress in your life. What does this mean? Stress is potentially the most pervasive, damaging condition we face. Nearly every major cause of death, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and arthritis, is linked to some type of stress.

Exercise is a form of stress. Unfortunately, the part of the brain that is responsible for stimulating the release of cortisol doesn't know the difference between "good" stress and "bad" stress, so it secretes more of this destructive hormone whenever we do a workout that's longer or more intense than we're used to. The irony is that when we secrete high levels of cortisol we actually impede the growth and repair processes that are necessary for improvement in strength and speed - the very things we are trying to accomplish in training. Cortisol tears muscle tissue down and severely suppresses the immune system, making us most susceptible to injury and nagging illnesses. Chronic high levels of cortisol may also possibly result in increased risk for stress fractures, since calcium uptake by the bones is so reduced. The good news is that if we can reduce the high levels of cortisol we secrete through exercise, we can also reduce much of the damage and setbacks so that we can recover faster and stronger.

One of the greatest micronutrients you can take for stress is Phosphatidyl serine.

What it is:
This is the stress superstar. Phosphatidyl serine (PS, for those of us without the biology degree) is a naturally occurring phospholipid. Basically, PS is a compound of two fatty acids and a sugary skeleton (but a good kind called glycerol). It exists in the body in almost all cell membranes, but is particularly prevalent and critical in three primary places, which are all directly related to and impacted by stress: the brain, the muscles, and the immune system. We don't get much PS from our diets and our bodies don't manufacture much, so it is an important nutrient to supplement.

The stress effect:
PS is probably the most important nutrient you can take for fighting stress. Nevertheless, not many "stress-fighting" supplements contain appreciable amounts of PS, because it is such an expensive nutrient. PS not only enriches your brain's ability to fight stress, but it helps your muscles rebuild and nourish themselves, and PS supports your immune system in fighting infection. Significantly, PS has been shown to "blunt" cortisol and ACTH, two of the stress-related hormones that our bodies produce. More importantly, PS does not interfere with abnormally low levels of cortisol - only the unhealthy higher levels generated under stress. And it gets better: PS has also been shown in numerous studies to increase memory, concentration and cognition.

The studies show:
Just 75 mg a day can help an adult male reduce his levels of both ACTH and cortisol. PS is necessary to repairing cellular membranes, which are crucial to proper bodily functions. PS is especially helpful in rebuilding muscles after exertion and injury. In double-blind studies (the most reliable studies), PS has been proven to help with brain function - even alleviating certain forms of age-related dementia and mental impairment. Experts consider PS a "general stress" nutrient, helping muscles bounce back, nerves handle a hectic lifestyle, stress hormones stay in balance and concentration improve.

For more information click on the title link.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rebecca Preston Checks In......

Channelling my ‘inner Miss Coco’

When I found out I was going to be racing at the Malaysian Powerman, I immediately thought of my team mate, Erika Csomor, or Miss Coco. Miss Coco is duathlon royalty having won Zofingen many occasions. So I figured if I could take a small leaf out of her book, I’d be fine.

The week leading up to the race, my training had been going well, and I was excited to have the opportunity to race a format that I was not familiar with. My only expectations were to go hard, and to have fun. Unfortunately, I must of been channelling too much energy from Miss Coco, because like Erika, I found myself battling a cold a couple of days before the race, (my first for the year!). Thankfully, I suffered the worse of my cold the two days leading up to the race, and I woke up race morning, feeling ok and able to breathe.

But once again, the energy I drew from Miss Coco, was simply too strong, and as I zipped up my race suit the morning of the race, I busted the front the zip, just as Erika had done in her 70.3 race in Austria. With a couple of safety pins across my chest, I was good to go. I just hope there is no photographic evidence!!! Even though I was wearing a crop top underneath, I felt very ‘busty’, and looking like I was popping out.

And that’s where the similariites between Miss Coco, and I ended :(. As much as I’d like to say, I smashed that course, I can’t. The first run, was the part I was most nervous about. As strange as it sounds, I would much rather run off the bike, than fresh. My goal for the first run was to minimise any losses between myself and the front runners. It was a two looped run, and on the first loop I managed to keep the first girl (nz girl, Victoria Beck) within my sights. However, on the second lap, I felt the overwhelming urge to ‘find a bush ;). I managed to hold it, but lost a bit of time in the process. Once I got on my bike, this urge went away (thank god!).

The bike ride went well for me. In training, I’d been hammering some big gears, so I was keen to experiment with this style of riding under race situations. So I put my head down and pushed hard. This was definitely a great ride for me, and I felt like I got stronger as the ride progressed.

I rode into first place before half way, so I came off the bike in front. I wasn’t sure of how much of a lead I had, but I ran solidly regardless, because I wanted to not only win, but have a hard training day too.

When I crossed the finish line in first, I sort of did not believe it. Had I actually managed to finish a race??? And win a race??? A duathlon??? I was so happy, so relieved, and so content with being able to actually ’switch off’ my thinking head, and ’switch on’ my racing head again.

For now, it’s back to the hard work here in Subic Bay. I have three more weeks here, before I leave for Busselton, and I am keen to make the most of my time here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brighter days ahead: The Ivan Basso Diary

Ivan Basso is back to racing after a forced rest of two years due to his involvement in Operación Puerto. The Italian, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, looks to set the records straight and prove himself stronger than before while giving Cyclingnews' readers an inside look.

Basso first rose to prominence with his Under 23 World Championships win in 1998. The greater cycling public took notice of him when he won the stage to La Mongie ahead of Lance Armstrong on the way to a third overall in the 2004 Tour de France. He placed second the following year and won his home tour in 2006; however, his last major competition was the Castilla y León in 2007.

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) served him a 16-month suspension in June 2007. He came back to racing two days after his ban ended at the Japan Cup, October 26. He finished third in a close finish behind Damiano Cunego and Giovanni Visconti. The result was promising and Basso hopes there will be even brighter days ahead in 2009.

To read his diary click on the title link.

Mario Cipollini Joins Team ISD

Former World Champion Mario Cipollini has joined forces with new team ISD. The 41 year-old will act as a consultant for the Ukrainian-backed Italian team of Luca Scinto and Angelo Citracca, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport

"We have created a lot of similar ideas. You will see me some times in the team car or training with the riders," Cipollini said.

Cipollini won many big races, including the 2002 Milano-Sanremo and World Championships, before retiring in 2005. He worked as a consultant for Team Liquigas after retirement and did the same for Rock Racing during his brief comeback last spring, which included a third behind Tom Boonen in stage two of the Tour of California.

"It was an experience," he said of working with Michael Ball's Team Rock Racing. "Every great athlete wants to feel it, even after retiring. I understand the desire of [Lance] Armstrong to return to the top. I took the post at Rock Racing immediately, but in America I could not give the contributions that I would have liked to."

Scinto and Citracca were to have extra funding for Cipollini and the team from Danieli, but the company backed out of its offer to sponsor the Professional Continental team, according to the newspaper. It was set to provide one million in budget for the team.

"The team will have 20 riders. The leader will be [Giovanni] Visconti, but also look out for [Dmitry] Grabovskiy and [Andriy] Grivko."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lance Armstrong Shines In Texas

Lance Armstrong (Mellow Johnny's) has claimed another victory in his second public appearance since formally announcing his return to competition, this time on the mountain bike at the Rocky Hill Roundup, Texas Cup Series Finals in Smithville. The Texas Cup Finals were an opportunity for the former Tour de France winner to get in an intense workout close to home in the Central Texas Hill Country.

After a dusty start Armstrong managed to avoid a crash on the opposite side of the formation and settled into 10th position as the group funnelled into the single-track. A mix of twisty single-track in the woods, speedy fire roads and a few moderate climbs populated the nine mile cycling ranch trail. The pace immediately went ballistic as the lead group of Brian Fawley (Park Place Lexus), Armstrong and Scott Henry (Trek/VW) developed quickly, with Mitch Comardo (Bicycle Sport Shop) staying close behind.

The top three were nose to tail on the short climbs and single-track by lap two, while Comrade was losing a bit of ground on his unsuspended 29er single speed. Trading pulls evenly, Armstrong noted that whatever advantage Fawley and Henry had in tighter sections he made up for in the open fields toward the finish of the loop.

Seeing a few second gap opening up to Henry, and Fawley losing contact behind that, Armstrong took advantage of the fast section at the start of the third loop to open up a 30 second lead heading out onto the ranch trail.

Fawley dropped back into third while Henry kept the gap to Armstrong under a minute, and Comardo dropped back almost six minutes, still solidly in fourth. Henry marvelled at the Tour champion's performance. "It's hard to compete with such a big motor," he said.

Armstrong completed the 27 miles fastest while Henry claimed second 48 seconds back and Fawley claimed the series title with third at nearly three minutes. Comardo was second overall in the series, thanks to his fourth place more than six minutes behind.

Lance signs autographs for his fans after the race.

Armstrong is still looking to race close to home, but he gets down to business soon with the Astana team vamp in the Canary Islands, November 30 - December 8.

Pro/Cat 1 Men - Three laps, 27 miles
1 Lance Armstrong (Mellow Johnny's) 1.52.02
2 Scott Henry (Trek/VW) 1.48
3 Bryan Fawley (Park Place Lexus) 2.55
4 Mitch Comardo (Gary Fisher 29er) 6.39
5 JT Cody (Solar Eclipse) 7.25
6 Rick Wetherald (Solar Eclipse) 7.41
7 Dan Teaters (Beans & Barley) 9.11
8 Noel Reuter (Bicycle Sport Shop) 11.20
9 Jimmy Clarke (Bike Barn/Gary Fisher/Subaru) 11.32
10 Craig Kunz (Bicycle Sport Shop) 13.32
11 Eric Hess (Austin Bikes) 14.33
12 Mason Quintana (Austin Bikes) 14.52
13 Alex Morgan (Cycle Progression) 17.25
14 Sean Ahmadi ( 18.15
15 Kevin Koen (Team Bike Lane) 18.25
16 Greg Parham (NRC/Pedalmashers) 23.33
17 Marc Mayo (Austin Bikes) 23.38
18 Paul Sacket (Hill Country Bicycle Works) 25.41

Terenzo Bozzone wins in Clearwater

Earlier this year Terenzo Bozzone was an angry young man. The 23-year-old had dreamed of making the Olympic team to represent New Zealand in Beijing. Instead he was left off the team. He turned his focus on Ironman 70.3 - today that proved to be a great move as he claimed the world championship.

"I’m in a fairy tail dream at the moment,” he said minutes after the race, still so excited he was practically hyperventilating. “It’s everything that I’ve wanted and more.”

To win today Bozzone had to beat all but a few of the fastest men ever at Ironman 70.3 racing. Leading the way at the start of the day was defending men’s champion Andy Potts, who led out of the water and through most of the first half of the bike. At that point, though, he was joined by a group that included many of the race favorites. Oscar Galindez powered to the front at that point, but wasn’t able to stay there as the fast-riding group.

It was a quick transition that put Bozzone in front starting the run and no one could catch him from there on in. To say he was thrilled would be an understatement.

“Third time lucky,” he laughed. “The competition here is so awesome. Craig Alexander won the first year, Andy Potts the next. They’re both unbelievable athletes – this is definitely the crème de la crème of Ironman 70.3. I probably overdid the first couple of years doing everything I could to win. Today I was going for the perfect wave and today I found it.”

Bozzone’s day wasn’t without a bit of a scare, though, as Germany’s Andreas Raelert put together a blazing run split to close to within 32 seconds by the finish line. The German put together a 1:10 run split, but ran out of real estate as he gained on Bozzone. Richie Cunningham put together yet another top finish here in Clearwater to claim third, followed by Oscar Galindez and another 23-year-old, Reinaldo Colucci.

After two years of seemingly not racing to his potential here in Clearwater, Bozzone tried a slightly different tactic – one which worked like a charm:

“Coming from the ITU racing, everyone runs fast there,” he said. “This year I held back a bit on the bike and gave it all on the run.”

You can’t win the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 if you aren’t a great swimmer, cyclist and runner. Today we saw once again that putting it all together and being strong on the run can make all the difference. Just ask the man who held off the best in the world today to claim a world championship, Terenzo Bozzone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference

Lance Armstrong has had a whirlwind two weeks, beginning with a speech in Florida October 28, onto Copenhagen, Denmark for the same, winning two time trials in Texas, onto Dallas for a friend's funeral, then time spent in southern California for wind tunnel and velodrome testing, all by November 5. So what does the 37-year-old do in his spare time?

The Texan took the stage at the Web 2.0 Summit Wednesday night in San Francisco, speaking with John Battelle, founder and chairman of Federated Media Publishing. Armstrong spoke for 38 minutes, covering the bases openly about the recent presidential elections, his training, reasons for coming back to pro racing, and why he's wired the way he is. He also spoke about using Twitter, a social networking tool that he started using recently.

The relaxed cancer advocate spoke about his ego, and shared many insights to the Silicon Valley audience, including Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang. He also talked about forming, a for-profit web venture, in addition to forming the non-profit Lance Armstrong Foundation/, before taking questions from the audience.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Armstrong returns to the wind tunnel

Lance Armstrong's return to the top level of professional cycling has taken place at the San Diego Air and Space Technology Low Speed Wind Tunnel. It was the first time in almost four years that the Texan has tested his aerodynamic form on a bike, but Armstrong settled quickly back into the groove and started the first wave of what will undoubtedly be many sessions tunnel.

"What we are trying to do today is establish a baseline so we are starting with Lance's position from 2005 and will go from there," remarked Steve Hed, who, as Armstrong's chief aerodynamic consultant, had scheduled the time in San Diego.

Aerodynamic guru Steve Hed consults with Lance Armstrong

Coming off two wins this past weekend in time trial events in Texas, it might seem like Armstrong is already back in racing form but long-time coach Chris Carmichael was quick to point out that Armstrong needs to start ratcheting up his training program to focus on speeds of 30+mph which are necessary to win major time trials. Clearly, while Armstrong has a powerful motor a lot of the groundwork needs to be done in the wind tunnel, especially after such a long hiatus.

Today's session focused on the working on the fore and aft position of his arms on the time trial bars combined with a fore and aft position of Armstrong on his saddle trying to find the best combination of comfort and aerodynamics. "For me it is always hard to find power," noted Armstrong. "You are looking for the perfect intersection between position and power."

Armstrong gave an assessment of his first session. "It feels a little different right now because I am fitter now than I usually am in the off season," he said. "I haven't been bent over in a time trial position in a few years. It is a lot different than coming in the middle of the season. I have a better appreciation now of going into the wind tunnel. I suspect we will come back during camp before the Tour of Calfornia."

Trek's road brand manager Scott Daubert indicated that the time trial bike Armstrong was testing, the TTX, was only a prototype when he last rode the bike at the 2005 Tour, now it is in full production and has been ridden successfully by Armstrong's new team-mates Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer.

The Texan gave some insights into his racing program for 2009. "I am going to Italy [Giro], I am going to do Tour of Flanders, all the classics of cycling [except Roubaix], Tour of California, Criterium International, Circuit de la Sarthe," he said.

Also slated to join in the testing in San Diego are Contador, Leipheimer and phenomenon Taylor Phinney who will lead Armstrong's U23 Livestrong team.

Do Compression Socks Work?

At first glance, they appear to be a statement of retro style. But a closer look reveals the knee-high tube socks many elite distance runners race in are anything but rekindled 1970s apparel.

They're graduated compression socks -- snug-fitting, over-the-calf socks (some of which start at the ankle) aimed at improving oxygen delivery to muscles, speeding lactic acid removal and stabilizing the lower leg for greater muscle efficiency. A handful of front-of-the-pack road runners swear by them, including Lornah Kiplagat and Gete Wami. Women's marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliff e has also worn them in the past, although not in the BUPA Great North Run Half Marathon or the ING New York City Marathon in 2007.

But do they work? Compression socks and wraps have been widely accepted in clinical and post-surgical settings for the treatment of edema, lymph edema, phlebitis, varicose veins, spider veins and deep vein thrombosis. Most theories about how the socks can improve running performance focus on the physiological and biomechanical support of the lower extremities.

The primary rationale behind wearing compression socks in a race is that they may enhance venous return to the heart through a more efficient calf muscle pump, leading to increased endurance capacity. And there is the notion that because muscles are kept more compact, balance and proprioception are improved and muscle fatigue is minimized.

However, a study presented at the 2007 American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans suggested there were no statistically significant differences in maximal oxygen consumption, heart rate or minute ventilation between treadmill runners who wore compression socks and those who did not. According to the study, conducted at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, subjects did, however, show a faster lactate recovery rate after exercise when wearing the compression socks, suggesting that compression socks might speed recovery after a strenuous workout or a race.

So wear them in a race if it suits you, but definitely wear them after the race.

L’Etape du Tour 2009 preview video

The L’Etape du Tour is an annual sportive event which allows amateur cyclists to ride a stage of the Tour de France.

Next year’s Etape takes place on 20 July, starting in Montélimar in Drôme and making its way 172km to the summit of the legendary Mont Ventoux.

Contador joins Armstrong in wind tunnel testing

Alberto Contador flew to the USA yesterday for aerodynamic wind tunnel testing in San Diego, California. The winner of this year's Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España will accompany new teammate Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer today at the Allied Aerospace Low Speed Wind Tunnel.

Contador will use the facilities to work on a new time trial helmet. "We will work with my sponsors, Trek and Giro, for the next season. I am going with a lot of motivation, because the races are won by very little time [difference] and with the time trial I still have a good margin for improvement," he said in a press statement.

It will be the first meeting between Armstrong and Contador since the former announced his comeback to the sport in September. The two will both race in Johan Bruyneel's Team Astana.

Contador is targeting the Tour de France to add to his 2007 victory. Armstrong, who will debut with the Tour Down Under, will race the Giro d'Italia for the first time in his career. He has not yet decided if he will return to race the Tour.

Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005, before retiring after his last win. He completed in his first time trial since retiring this weekend at the Tour de Gruene.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Recovox Athlete - Rosetta Takes On Lance!

I never thought I would get the opportunity to be in the same race with Lance Armstrong but that is where I found myself this past weekend at the Tour de Gruene ITT and TTT.

Although I was no where near Lance's time for the ITT I did manage to finish 2nd in my Age Group. Like everybody else I wanted to finish as fast as I could just so I could see Lance race. A quick pre-race aero tip from Steve Hed really helped shave some minutes off my time.

On Sunday during the Team Time Trial my team mate Abel Gonzales and I were able to take 8th place in our Age Group. We had a good race but the effort from Saturdays race came back to haunt us during the 13% hill halfway through the course!

Overall it was a great weekend!

For more on Vince check out his site @

There is no dishonor in being passed by Lance Armstrong

By: Robert Rivard

In the course of his storied career, he has passed or left behind everyone. And as of Saturday that now includes me.

For seven years running, Armstrong was the very best rider to enter the Tour de France, cycling's seminal event. Those seven consecutive victories from 1999 to 2005 probably constitute one of sport's most untouchable records.

Soon the world will be watching to see if Armstrong, 37, can emerge from retirement after three years and do it again.

He is driven, no doubt, at least in part by one of the most competitive spirits on the planet, but his return also will keep his name and his cause in the spotlight. So, even as he cycles through Italy, and we fans hope, into France, he also will raise tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars more for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its global mission to unite people to fight cancer.

Before Armstrong departs for Europe and his return to the racing circuit, however, he came down Interstate 35 from Austin to ride in Saturday's inaugural individual time trial race in the 25th Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic.

His entry electrified the event, more so because it would be Armstrong's only scheduled race in the United States this year.

Cycling and road racing in South and Central Texas hardly register on the radar screen and seldom win much play in the state's biggest newspapers.

But a resurgent Armstrong deciding to race in Gruene along the likes of, well, me, is not unlike Tiger Woods announcing he will play a couple of rounds with the locals at Brackenridge before he officially returns to the PGA Tour.

It isn't the first time Armstrong has created a buzz by riding in the Tour de Gruene. More than a decade ago, still fresh from battling his own cancer, Armstrong came within seconds of winning the team event and soon afterward silenced all doubters with his now epic comeback.

It so happens that last year's Tour de Gruene was my first experience riding in a time trial race, and this year I leapt at the chance to enter both the first individual time trial as well as today's team time trial.

I was riding as hard as my 55-year-old legs would allow, covering the last half of the 16-mile course that followed River Road along the banks of the Guadalupe River when I noticed a rider wearing number 90 just standing on the roadside with two other cyclists.

Race organizers had told me that Armstrong was wearing number 90, so it struck me as odd that Armstrong, not due to race for 30 minutes, was out on the course.

I also noticed that one of the riders with him was Agustin Magallanes, circulation director at the Laredo Morning Times and, perhaps, the most accomplished rider on the Third Street Grackles cycling team, which I captain.

I cycled on and, nearing mile 13, began to envision the finish line. I pushed harder, desperate to break the 50-minute mark, shooting for a 19-20 mph average pace.

My speedometer read 23 mph when suddenly Armstrong blew by me at a speed that left me thinking I was not actually moving on my own bike, no matter what my speedometer was reading. The two other riders, who were not in the race but had staked out spots hoping for just such an encounter, clung to Armstrong's rear wheel, riding for all they were worth.

Armstrong, of course, was only warming up. A half-hour later he went off as the last rider in the time trial, and predictably, he handily won the event. Armstrong covered the 16 miles in a little more than 33 minutes. It took me 49 minutes.

It's never felt to so good to get beat so badly.

I'll follow his comeback after three years away from the sport with keen interest, but I'll follow his efforts to build his foundation even more closely.

There are few world-class athletes able or willing to leverage their status as iconic athletes into an even higher pursuit, namely making the world a better place.

Saturday, for a few fleeting seconds, I rode near the guy doing just that.